Home » Broadband "Shortage" »Consumer News »Editorial & Site News »Internet Overcharging » Currently Reading:

Special Report: Unlimited Internet Access Is the Global Norm, Not the Exception

Phillip Dampier April 7, 2011 Broadband "Shortage", Consumer News, Editorial & Site News, Internet Overcharging 16 Comments

Their bull got you right in your wallet.

The next time you hear a provider telling you usage-capped broadband is the way the rest of the world does business, understand one thing:

They are lying to you.

Stop the Cap! conducted extensive research on just what kind of broadband plans are sold around the world. We researched every member country of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and included several developing and non-aligned countries for good measure.

Our findings are conclusive: Unlimited broadband packages are the global norm. Some providers sell a mix of “light use” plans with usage allowances, but almost always side-by-side affordable, unlimited use options for those who want them. The only exceptions we found:

  • Australia: The most common reason for usage caps comes from lack of capacity.  Countries in the South Pacific continue to experience international capacity shortages that are gradually easing with the introduction of new underseas fiber cables.  Several providers have promised to ease or eliminate caps as new capacity comes online.
  • Canada: For reasons of marketplace concentration, lack of competition, and regulatory malpractice, Canadian broadband has lost its former status as a world-leader in broadband and has now become an also-ran, with almost universally usage-capped and throttled broadband from large cable and phone companies delivering expensive, comparatively slow service.
  • Iceland: International capacity problems limit international broadband traffic with usage caps, but some providers offer unlimited service for domestic traffic.
  • New Zealand: Just like Australia, New Zealand suffers from international capacity problems not seen in Europe, North America, or continental Asia.  Both Australia and New Zealand are using public finances to overcome broadband shortages and reduce or eliminate usage caps.

Some providers in the United States are following Canada’s lead attempting to monetize broadband traffic to maximize profits.  Some Canadian providers claim usage-based billing is necessary to finance the construction of broadband networks across the broad expanse of rural Canada.  Yet Russia, a far larger country with fewer financial resources, succeeds in delivering unlimited service where Canada fails.  Their arguments just don’t add up, and combined with the reality we present here proves providers are telling tall tales about the need for their Internet Overcharging schemes.

If Albania can deliver unlimited Internet access, why can’t your provider?

Country Provider
Albania SAN Ltd. — Delivers “always on, always unlimited” DSL service
Austria Telekom Austria — “Unlimited high speed Internet”
Australia AAPT -- Delivers up to 1TB combined peak/off-peak usage; unlimited plans N/A
Belgium Telenet — Offers multiple plans with no set limits.  Reserves right to reduce speeds for highest use customers
Chile VTR -- Unlimited Access
Czech Rep.
O2/Czech Rep. -- Unlimited Access
Denmark Tele Danmark -- Fast, unlimited service up to 20/2Mbps
Estonia Elion -- Hyperfast 100Mbps Internet, no limits
Finland Elisa -- Fixed broadband without fixed limits
France Orange, Free, and Teleconnect all unlimited, all the time.
Germany Deutsche Telekom -- Internet at a flat rate.
Greece OTE — Conn-X, now up to 24Mbps and no limit.
Hungary Magyar Telekom/DT -- Delivers up to 80Mbps unlimited access.
Iceland All providers have usage caps on foreign traffic due to international capacity issues
India India Bharat Sanchar Nigam, Ltd. offers uncapped plans.
Ireland Irish Broadband promises "fast and unlimited access 24/7."
Italy Tiscali: 20Mbps service, “browse the Internet without limits.”
Japan KCN delivers up to 1Gbps service: rocket fast and never a limit.
Korea All major providers deliver unlimited service packages.
Luxembourg Numericable delivers 30Mbps service with "no volume limits."
Malaysia
Persiasys offers a complete selection of unlimited use plans.
Mexico Cablevision delivers up to 20Mbps service without usage caps.
Netherlands Onesnet provides up to 100Mbps service at a monthly fixed rate.
New Zealand
ISPs in NZ deliver unlimited broadband only during off-peak hours due to capacity.
Nigeria Junisat delivers several unlimited satellite broadband packages.
Norway Telenor sells ADSL and VDSL 'super broadband' packages without limits.
Philippines PLDT and Digitel markets unlimited service in the Philippines.
Poland Telekomunikacja Polska offers ADSL service across Poland with no use limitations.
Portugal Portugal Telecom sells unlimited broadband service, often over fiber networks.
Russia Koptevo, CentroSet, and MegaBistro offer all you can eat broadband buffets.
Singapore
SingTel wants your family to enjoy 15Mbps unlimited Internet access.
Slovakia Slovak Telecom/DT delivers optical Internet with unlimited access 24/7.
Slovenia Telekom Slovenije offers unlimited access to their networks up to 100/100Mbps in speed.
Spain Telefonica delivers unlimited broadband service to all its customers who want it.
Sweden Com Hem, Sweden's national cable company, offers unlimited access up to 100Mbps.
Switzerland Swisscom offers unlimited downloads across all but one "lite use" plan.
Turkey SuperOnline delivers more than a half-dozen unlimited access packages in Turkey.
UK
Virgin Media offers unlimited broadband access in the UK.  BT plans to soon.
Share

Currently there are 16 comments on this Article:

  1. Ed says:

    It should be noted that some independent ISPs in Canada do offer unlimited plans. Companies like TekSavvy, who purchase last-mile connections from Bell, offer unlimited usage packages at very affordable prices. Of course, that will change if the CRTC approves either wholesale UBB or Aggregated Volume Pricing (AVP).

    It should also be noted that SaskTel in Saskatchewan also offers unlimited usage. SaskTel is a Crown Corporation, meaning it’s a government-owned entity. It’s the last province not taken over by Bell or Telus in Canada.

  2. Matt says:

    That is SAD – Even Mexico is beating us in the Internet race!!!

  3. Baxter says:

    this is very sad, i mean heck if russia can do this why cant we??, we use to be a nation that could stand right up against them but now, they must be laughtin, i find it horible that we where the first ones to the moon but we are the last ones in the internet world (well not technically but u know what i mean), why the whole world is basically getting rid of caps we are getting into it cause of greed, and the only reason these companys feel like its ok because of the mother (ma bell) thinks they can pass what ever they want threw the fcc, i mean just because u control canada dont think you can get the usa to do the same (the cable companys are spawns, they follow whatever the mother does)

    heck i might as well move to the uk, since not only our goverment has gone to crap, but now the internet to, communisim anyone?

  4. Alexander says:

    Maybe in 20 years from now when the government sanctioned AT&T monopoly outfit has planted the US firmly in the 3rd world internet tier, which no doubt will help plunge our economy even further into the Great Depression, it will be Americans running south across the border instead of what we have today.

    Don’t forget to join the facebook AT&T bandwidth cap protest group – http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_186439608067383

  5. Terry says:

    bringing up the rear….. as usual lately it seems.

  6. Daniel says:

    Just want to point out that TPG in Australia has now started to offer an unlimited DSL plan.

  7. elly parker says:

    Ireland Irish Broadband promises “fast and unlimited access 24/7.”

    I’d be suspicious as to actually how much research was done for that article, especially as the information offered for Ireland relates to one of our minor providers, and when I look at their product they are only offering 4MB with unlimited downloads AND it costs double the price of the closest limited plan….

    • Elly, the point of the piece was not to present a comprehensive list of every ISP out there, but to take away the oft-repeated claim that “usage limits” are the normal way everyone else prices broadband, so why can’t (the provider) “we.” It didn’t take too long to find unlimited broadband deals all over the world.

      While I agree 4Mbps is hardly blazing fast speed, at least you never have to worry about getting a surprise bill at the end of the month. There are a lot of consumers that would actually pay more for unlimited broadband even if they are not the “heavy users” usually blamed for being bandwidth hogs. They simply don’t want to think twice about every website they visit.

      In Canada, unlimited TekSavvy is not a major provider either, but they provide welcome relief for those stuck with usage-capped service from Bell telephone or Rogers Cable.

      BTW, if you are lucky, perhaps UPC fibre will be coming your way soon. They deliver a 20/1.5Mbps unlimited plan for €34, or a 30/3Mbps unlimited plan for €42. That’s a far better deal than Eircom’s DSL — €39.82 for “up to 7Mbps” with a paltry 50GB monthly allowance. At least Eircom — the biggest provider in Ireland (or so they claim), delivers their own unlimited package — €47.99 for “up to 24Mbps.” Those are standalone prices.

      • fred says:

        Let’s go one step further. UBB is killing America’s ability to compete in the real world. Broadband should be one gigabit upload and download…bare minimum via FTTH with mandatory universal service for everyone.

  8. Logan says:

    You forgot to mention China, where all ISPs also offer unlimited internet for cheaper than Canada, and they are beginning to offer unlimited FTTH for less than ADSL or cable costs here..

    • I was hesitant to include China because they are the ultimate bad boy in Net Neutrality violations, for political reasons.

      But China is investing in infrastructure of ALL kinds at dollar amounts that would cause tea party members to fling themselves into the sea.

      Penny wise, pound foolish.

      That’s why America’s National Broadband Plan is far too timid IMHO. It sets up rural America with yesterday’s 3-4Mbps DSL service while larger cities can move into faster speeds the phone company cannot match on an antiquated copper wire network.

      I’m a believer in a nationwide fiber network on which any provider can deliver service. Why duplicate infrastructure when we could retire America’s copper wire phone network and rip coax lines off the pole as well — doing it all over infinitely upgradable fiber.

      Australia is working on it. So is New Zealand. The most rural areas will get wireless service, but most towns and cities will see fiber straight to the home while companies like Frontier stick people with 1.5Mbps DSL… indefinitely.

  9. youwishme2 says:

    Where I live Telus is still legacy in the so called city “medicine hat” and Redcliff at the 3-4Mbps DSL . Plus they stifle their so called competition(retail? partners) by making them charge $10GB overage and the packages are expensive. Even Shaw did that to me too. Telus you can go over quite a bit . But of course thats why I switched to them because of it. If the so called competition wasn’t forced into charging that and had real competitive packages , I would not have switched. So basically there really isn’t competition here.
    This AVP is still another deceitful attempt to gouge us. What company brings up that costs are to high but fail to show the proof. iirc business courses even say that a “professional would bring all the info and be well prepared”. Its at that point now it hard to believe anything Mr. Bibic says. IMHO hes a compulsive lair: The Adgenda interview with MR.Burger, Mr. Bibic etc , Mr Burger states about how in 1 week he claimed that they spend 8/9/10 Billion and now at the http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/04/11/internet-billing-debate-we-reject-pricing-absurdities/ he says “$3-billion in capital each year,” . The Adgenda interview he claims that people on the light package only use 20% and another he says 10%. But at the FP he says 16GB on there 25Gb package? which is about 50%.

    @Ed I wish TekSavvy, was a choice here. But They would end up like the rest of the partners here and I’d still be stuck with Telus to get the most for my $.

    • Is TekSavvy only a reseller of Bell DSL? I realize Telus is western Canada’s biggest phone company, but evidently they do not have a deal with TekSavvy?

      The UBB problem in Canada remains an outrage and I am unconvinced the CRTC will magically change its thinking later this year. Voters need to keep the pressure on all political parties to deliver a concrete promise to dump UBB.

      Bibic likes to claim Bell is at an unfair disadvantage because Bell has to sell to third party providers while cable companies do not.

      The answer there is simple: force cable companies to sell wholesale bandwidth to independent providers as well! I guarantee you that is not the answer Bibic wants to hear, but consumers sure would!

      • Ed says:

        It’s getting harder and harder these days to discern the facts. With all the rhetoric being spewed in the media, it’s difficult to discern the truth from the “truth” for the consumer (me). So here’s what I’ve been able to gather on the state of the Internet in Canada (and in particular, southern Ontario, as this is where I reside).

        Telecom (Bell)

        Bell Canada owns most of the telecom infrastructure here because they either built the infrastructure themselves or they gobbled up the little regional telecom companies over the years. As for the infrastructure they built for themselves, it’s unclear to me whether or not any tax dollars were used to subsidize its construction (though it has been stated in some sources I’ve come across).

        Due to this monopoly, the CRTC had to get involved in setting regulations to encourage competition. This was because building redundant infrastructure was deemed illogical and unfeasible. With respect to DSL internet, this meant requiring Bell to sell a service called wholesale Gateway Access Service (GAS), which gives third-party ISPs access to the last mile loop to the customer.

        As far as I know, this service is purchased currently at a flat-rate fee rate based on the aggregate speed that the third-party ISP requires. Essentially this fee gives third-party ISPs a portion of the “data pipe”. This fee currently doesn’t include any usage-based amounts, which I believe allows third-party ISPs to offer unlimited DSL plans. The actual Internet service is actually provided by the third-party ISP and NOT by Bell. So no, I don’t believe Teksavvy or any other third-party ISP is a reseller of Bell’s DSL service.

        I have visited Bell’s wholesale services website and have not found actual prices for wholesale GAS .

        Cable (Rogers)

        Similar to Bell, the CRTC enacted something called Third-Party Internet Access (TPIA) which gave third-party ISPs access to a portion of the Rogers network. However, because cable Internet speeds suffer when more users are connected, the CRTC allowed cable companies to charge wholesale UBB. However, thus far, I don’t believe Rogers are charging wholesale UBB rates because Teksavvy also offers unlimited cable Internet plans. Again, I believe companies like Teksavvy are NOT resellers of Rogers Internet, they only use the last mile connection to the customer.

        Mirko Bibic

        I have watched The Agenda piece (freely available podcast on iTunes) about UBB and various other interviews with this Bell Chief of Propaganda. He is quite inconsistent on his “data/facts”, but he consistently pushes Bell’s lies wherever he goes. I believe he will be promoted to a new position at CTV once the Bell takeover of CTV is complete (http://www.torontosun.com/money/2011/02/08/17198701.html). He will soon have a larger platform to spew his garbage.

        The Solution

        In North America, the cable and telecom industry is monopolized by super-corporations. Because it’s an industry that requires such heavy initial capital investments, it’s virtually impossible to create new competition in the market. The way I see it, if we want to see competition and fair pricing for consumers, the government has to get involved one way or another.

        Because of their total control over infrastructure, one of the biggest unfair advantages that they have is their ability to bundle services at discounts (Internet, phone, wireless, TV, etc). To me, this is such a blatant anti-trust issue that I can’t believe there haven’t been lawsuits filed. I believe this is one of the major reasons we haven’t seen more people switching to smaller third-party ISPs here in Canada.

        But in a way, the corporations are not completely at fault. They are only doing what’s best for their shareholders, right? Well that’s another can of worms altogether.

        So what should the government do to help consumers wanting fair Internet pricing, while adhering to market principals? The way I see it, there are two things; build and finance it’s own network, like what they are doing at the municipal level in the US or commit to local-loop unbundling like countries in the EU. Either way, In a market lacking in competition, the government needs to make moves to artificially stimulate competition for the good of the consumer.

      • Ed says:

        One more note about the CRTC. Philip, I think you’re right about its unchanging stance on the issues. The problem here is that the same people who are involved with the CRTC, are also the ones who were once high-ranking officers at the big telecom/cable companies or will be again in the future. Of course you need expertise at these sort of positions, but there will be some level of conflicting interests which can be problematic.

  10. Limboaz says:

    The bundle mentality is just as pervasive in Canada as the U.S., and caps are seen as the best way to protect the cable industry from competition. Rogers, a huge cable and Internet provider in Canada, lowered monthly usage caps just days after Netflix announced plans to expand into Canada.







Search This Site:

Contributions:

Recent Comments:

  • anon: it is only expected when you are operating in an urban ghetto like philadelphia....
  • Joe Siegler: The Time Warner Cable office near me has the same kind of set up....
  • Scott: Sad thing is that service center actually looks half decent, the facility I went to on the way out of town as I left Chicago and was cancelling my cab...
  • Glenda: I have been having trouble with winstream also it has been being slow and this is the only source of internet where I live so I wish the would fix thi...
  • Todd: I was just offered 18Mbps for $33 24Mbps for $35 45Mbps for $40 I've never anything faster than 12 in my life so I went for 45. But then I wa...
  • Phillip Dampier: We tweeted him early this afternoon before the article is published. He can rebut it here if he likes....
  • Bryan Cummings: Phil, Have you reached out to gentlemen you feature in this story to see if he will provide a response letter providing his side of the story ? ...
  • Elizabeth: You can also post comments online--I just did, using your letter! (It's a little over the character limit, though.) http://documents.dps.ny.gov/pu...
  • Will Knot Tell: I changed to Verizon before moving to Alaska. I called and spoke to the rep and got online and chatted so I could save the conversation because I have...
  • Will Knot Tell: I have been waiting for ACS Internet services (4G cell and Broadband) in Delta Junction for 19 months. I live 4 miles from Delta Junction and apparent...
  • Dave Hancock: But according to the Consumer Report's sister site, "The Consumerist", this was entirely normal (even encouraged) behavior: http://consumerist.com/...
  • Limboaz: It's pretty simple to understand. Capitalism can only work when monopolies and oligopolies are dealt with (i.e., stopped from forming in the first pla...

Your Account: